Equity on the Horizon in Arizona

A new bill making its way through the legislature in Arizona would provide state charter schools with the same amount of funding as traditional public schools. The proposed legislation would increase per-pupil funding by $852 for charters serving K-8 students, and $993 for charter high schools. All additional funding would be provided by the state. Critics of the bill argue that charters will receive more state funding than traditional district schools. Yet supporters point out that Arizona’s charters (like those in other states--Ohio, among them) cannot levy local property taxes as districts do. Arizona school districts raise an average of $1,155 per student from local bonds and levies. The bill cleared the Senate Education Committee after a vote along partisan lines (with all but one Democrat voting against the measure) and awaits a vigorous debate in the state senate. Despite Arizona’s efforts to “equalize” charter and district school funding, it’s unlikely Ohio’s lawmakers will budge on higher budgets for its charters (despite our recommendations). That’s too bad. For as even one skeptical Arizona lawmaker conceded, equal funding for charters “is an inherent issue of fairness.”  

$80M Boost Eyed for Charter Schools,” by Daniel Scarpinato, The Arizona Daily Star, February 1, 2007.

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